Gary Alexander with Fedai Kahraman and Berdan YerlikayaGary Alexander with Fedai Kahraman and Berdan Yerlikaya
2007 Emperors Palace Ready To Run Cup
(Heather Morkel/Summerhill Stud)

charl pretoriusCharl Pretorius FreeracerFrom a Ready To Run perspective recent events have been instructive. We’ve seen a few “bombers” emerge, and news filtering back is that trainers are beginning to take positions on their horses. The big race takes a bit of planning, more so because we’re dealing with relatively inexperienced horses. All of Gary Alexander, Lucky Houdalakis and Mark Dixon took the veils off some serious prospects in the last fortnight, while the established likes of Charles Laird’s Hurricane Force, Alexander’s The General, Tyrone Zackey’s Mpumelelo, Gavin Van Zyl’s Sishebo, and Paul Matchett’s Fakazi are in waiting. There’s been a lot of talk of late about the fistful of talent that Alexander’s sitting on from last year’s sale, and he chose last weekend to take the covers off Fenerbahce, a Turkish-owned son of Kahal. He was left behind as the curtains came up on Saturday, but he literally took off in the last 200m for an excellent second, and Johnny Geroudis speaks highly of him. Alec Laird’s R80 000 purchase, Tap Tap, friendless in an active market after a lay-off, came home lonely after being swamped coming off the Turffontein’s bend, making him a proper prospect for the big features during Gauteng’s spring season.

Ready To Run watchers preparing themselves for the 17 October Gallops at Summerhill, have begun to surf the Summerhill site for clues, and others like the two Hermans, Snr and Jnr, Wally Brits, Mark Struwig and Ian Keating were inmates at Hartford House this past weekend, sniffing the ground like bloodhounds. If you can’t get there in advance of the gallops, you might like to visit the website at, where the farm are releasing the “picks” of those closest to the horses, namely their jockeys.

A couple of horses that seem to be cropping up with regularity among their selections are Catmandu’s sister by Kahal, Imbongi’s brother by National Emblem, Pick Six’s brother by National Emblem, the Darley bred Cape Cross colt, a brace of youngsters by Royal Academy, two of the three Galileos and a Muhtafal colt described by the farm as arguably as good as they’ve seen. There will be a handful of these selections uploaded to the website every day, all part of the process of making it a uniquely different sale. Where else in the world do you get the benefit of seeing the horses run, the picks of the jockeys, and the selections of the best equipped panel in racing, to tell you where to dig for gold. Important dates:

17 October: Summerhill Gallops
1 November: Emperors Palace Ready To Run Cup and Charity Mile
2 November: Ready To Run Sale